A Climb above the City and the Sea

20 06 2010

An aerial shot of Pao de Acucar (Sugarloaf)

I had the opportunity to climb Pao de Acucar yesterday with my friend Alex Lowe.  Pao de Acucar is a surreal granite and gneiss dome, rising out of the sea in the middle of Rio.  I believe it is accurate to state that this formation has the best access and descent of any major freestanding formation in the world.  We took a ten minute bus ride, climbed over 1000 feet of perfect rock, and took the cable car down.  A great way to start or end a winter day in Rio, and a great way to get back in the groove of rock climbing in Brazil.

Asa & Alex at the base of the wall

High on the Via dos Italianos

Asa above the Atlantic on Via dos Italianos, Pao de Acucar

Asa leading into the clouds above Rio

I met with Alexandre Diniz, film maker and local climber from Rio de Janeiro.  We discussed the politics of the Rio Climbing Collaborative (RCC) for the local climbing community.  He felt there to be a lot of potential in this project, but it needs to be done with structure so as not to entice young community members to climb unsafely.  Also, a concern in regards to the politics of the existing rock guides of Rio was expressed.  For these reasons among many others, it is important to sustainably supply the right leadership and education with this program.

Today I met with an American ex-patriot, climber who works for Schools Without Borders and may be joining the RCC.  I will be meeting with a number of other community members and local climbers and will take a tour of the Rocinha Favela on Wednesday with my friend Rogerio Rodrigues, program director for Rocinha Crossfit.  Tonight, I am getting rested up for the craziness that is sure to erupt in tomorrow’s world cup game.


The Beginning of the Rio Climbing Collaborative Project

17 06 2010

I arrived in Brazil yesterday.  I hope to lay the groundwork for a project to encourage a community climbing culture in the favelas (slums) of Rio de Janeiro.  I plan to do this by coordinating with Brazilian NGOs, community leaders, and climbers to construct a climbing wall for a favela near the Dois Irmaos formation in Rio de Janeiro.

Favela with Pao de Acucar in the background

The goal of this project is to encourage local climbing culture, climbing knowledge, and potentially allow locals to gain employment as climbing guides in the Rio de Janeiro area.

Similar to a public skate park, the addition of a climbing wall would instill confidence in youth and encourage community with the excellent local climbing topography.  A massive metropolis of 15 million residents, Rio is situated within a batholith of big wall granite domes, which may provide the greatest urban climbing in the world.  Many of these walls are inaccessible due to the dangers of the favelas on the hillsides below these formations.  By encouraging a local climbing culture within these communities a positive and sustainable diversion from violence within the favelas may be attainable through risk-replacement.

I also hope to partake in some of the awesome climbing Rio and Brazil has to offer during my stay.  I will be updating this blog as much as possible with pictures and video.  I hope you enjoy.